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Coping with grief and loss: resources for families

Grief and loss are a natural part of life, but that doesn't make it any easier when we experience them. Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences we go through, and it's important to know that it's okay to seek help and support during this time. For families coping with grief and loss, there are many resources available to help navigate the difficult journey of grief.

Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations

Hospice and palliative care organizations offer support and care for patients and their families dealing with serious illness and end-of-life care. These organizations often have grief and bereavement support programs for families after their loved one has passed away. They may offer one-on-one counseling, support groups, and educational resources. Some organizations even offer services to children who have lost a parent or sibling.

Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals such as therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can offer counseling and support for families during the grieving process. They can help with managing grief and finding ways to cope with the emotions that come with loss. These professionals can also provide guidance on how to communicate with children about death and offer strategies for supporting them through the grieving process.

Faith Communities

For families who find comfort in their faith, faith communities can be a valuable resource for support and comfort during times of grief. Many faith communities offer bereavement support groups, counseling, and spiritual guidance. They can also provide a sense of community and connection, which can be especially helpful for families who are feeling isolated in their grief.

Support Groups

Support groups for those who have experienced loss can provide a sense of community and understanding. There are many different types of support groups, from those focused on specific types of loss to those that are more general. These groups can offer a safe space to share experiences and feelings and connect with others who are going through a similar journey. Online support groups are also available for those who may not have access to in-person groups.

Online Resources

There are many online resources available for families coping with grief and loss. Websites such as, the National Alliance for Grieving Children, and the Dougy Center offer resources, support groups, and information on coping with grief. These resources can be especially helpful for families who live in remote areas or have limited access to other forms of support.

Books and Articles

There are many books and articles written on the subject of grief and loss. Reading about the experiences of others can help normalize feelings and provide insight into the grieving process. Some books offer practical advice for coping with grief, while others provide a more personal perspective on the experience of loss. These resources can be especially helpful for families who prefer to process their emotions in a more private setting.

Here are a list of popular books on the topic of grief:

  1. "The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully" by Frank Ostaseski - This book is based on the author's years of experience working with the dying and their families. It offers practical guidance and wisdom for living life more fully in the face of death.
  2. "It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand" by Megan Devine - This book challenges the cultural narrative that grief should be quickly overcome and offers compassionate and realistic guidance for navigating the messy and complicated experience of grief.
  3. "The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief" by Francis Weller - This book explores the idea that grief is not something to be fixed or cured, but a natural and necessary part of life. It offers guidance on how to work with grief in a sacred and transformative way.
  4. "The Orphaned Adult: Understanding And Coping With Grief And Change After The Death Of Our Parents" by Alexander Levy - This book is a helpful guide for adults who have lost one or both parents. It offers practical advice and emotional support for navigating the complex emotions that arise in the aftermath of this type of loss.
  5. "Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving" by Julia Samuel - This book is based on the author's experience as a grief counselor and offers compassionate and insightful stories of people who have navigated grief and come out the other side.
  6. "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis - In this memoir, Lewis reflects on his experience of grief after the death of his wife. It offers a deeply personal and philosophical exploration of grief and loss.
  7. "The Bereaved Parent" by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff - This book is a comprehensive guide for parents who have lost a child. It offers practical advice and support for navigating the unique challenges of this type of loss.
  8. "Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief" by Martha Whitmore Hickman - This book offers daily meditations and reflections on grief and loss. It can be a helpful resource for those looking for a daily practice to support their grieving process.

These are just a few examples of the many books available on the topic of grief and loss. It's important to find a book that resonates with your own experience and offers the support and guidance that you need during this difficult time.

Self-Care Practices

Taking care of oneself is an important part of the grieving process. Exercise, meditation, and hobbies can be helpful ways to manage stress and emotions during this time. Practicing self-care can also help families to maintain a sense of normalcy and routine, which can be especially important for children who may be struggling with the loss of a loved one.

Grief and loss are a part of life that can be difficult to navigate, but families do not have to go through it alone. By reaching out to resources such as hospice and palliative care organizations, mental health professionals, faith communities, support groups, online resources, books and literature, and practicing self-care, families can find the support and comfort they need to cope with their loss. Remember, it's okay to seek help and support during this time, and there is no one right way to grieve.

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Breena Fain
Breena Fain

Breena is a writer, certified death doula, and co-founder at Addio based in San Francisco. She leads Addio's content efforts and helps families navigate their end-of-life plan. In her free time, you can find her at the piano, on the beach with her dog, eating her weight in sourdough bread, and volunteering at a local SF hospice facility. (She's also who runs all our social media accounts so be sure to say hello!)

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Should you create an online will or use an attorney?

If you're weighing the pros and cons of doing it online versus going through an attorney, let us break it down.

Take the quiz